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Media tower or monstrosity?

Toronto's media towers: beautiful or beastly?

  • I love it! It will lend an air of vibrancy and world-class big-city sophistication to the heart of

    Votes: 1 4.5%
  • Yuck! Toronto's a great city! Why should it look to Houston Interstate highway frontage roads and

    Votes: 12 54.5%
  • Meh ...

    Votes: 9 40.9%

  • Total voters
    22
  • Poll closed .

Dan

Dear Leader
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Click for the full-sized image to see it in all its full-sized glory.




During the Toronto Alefest, where Tranplanner, his lovely wife, and donk showed me, Cardinal and JNL some of the sights the city had to offer, we spent a few minutes outside the Eaton Centre on Younge Street. North of the Eaton Centre, this new structure struck my eyes, or rather punctured them with red-hot pokers. The locals call it a "media tower", and it's intended to create a Times Square feel in the area.

What do you think?
 

JNA

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Monstrosity.

I like what Rem and Jordanb said.
 
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SGB

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I question the message the media tower is currently sending: have some beers and go for a drive in your SUV. B-)
 
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"Twice as nice" (NOT)

What fun -- putting next to a set of mirrored buildings just to make sure you cannot miss it, what with the double image. :-D
 

mendelman

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poorly executed monstrosity.


BTW, did I mention I think Times Square in NYC is silly hyberbole? :)
 

thestip

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Everytime I am up in Toronto I wonder who in their right mind ever allowed that thing to be put there. The only time it was actually of use was back in 2001 when REM played a free concert right in front of it on Younge St. and a live feed of the concert was broadcast on it so the people at the back of the crowd could see what was happening on the stage. The rest of the time it is an eyesore, kinda like the video billboards on the way into the city on the Gardener Expwy...
 

BKM

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Well, Toronto was always held up in planning school as the paragon of urban virtue, and it may indeed be a "successful" city (immigration rates, crime stats and its role as Canada's economic engine certainly suggest that this status is true).

But, boy is the built environment-on the whole-extremely banal and ugly. Blah tract homes with bizarre Stalinist high rises in the middle. Ugly miles of blank box commercial taxpayer strips. I was disappointed, architecturally.

So, I voted "meh." It's ugly and won't create a "Times Square" affect, but it won't ruin an already largely uinimpressive cityscape. Just my biased opinion. :)
 

donk

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What if I told you the beer can "dances"?

Would that change your opinion?
 

SGB

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donk said:
What if I told you the beer can "dances"?

Would that change your opinion?
Then I'd have to add that it's probably a hazard to easily distracted vehicle operators - especially to a post-pub Segway operator like [name deleted].

;)
 

Tranplanner

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BKM said:
But, boy is the built environment-on the whole-extremely banal and ugly. Blah tract homes with bizarre Stalinist high rises in the middle. Ugly miles of blank box commercial taxpayer strips. I was disappointed, architecturally.
To that I say:



Donk, Cardinal, Dan probably have better shots.

Seriously, while I agree that Toronto's architecture isn't anything to jump for joy about I really wonder what parts of the city you got to see BKM - your description makes me think you only saw the suburbs. Even Paris has crappy suburbs.

As for the media tower - ugh. They are proliferating at an alarming pace. They don't contribute anything to the streetscape IMHO.
 

BKM

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Tranplanner said:
To that I say:



Donk, Cardinal, Dan probably have better shots.

Seriously, while I agree that Toronto's architecture isn't anything to jump for joy about I really wonder what parts of the city you got to see BKM - your description makes me think you only saw the suburbs. Even Paris has crappy suburbs.

As for the media tower - ugh. They are proliferating at an alarming pace. They don't contribute anything to the streetscape IMHO.
OCAD is pretty amazing :/

Maybe what I saw were the older suburbs, Transplanner, like Etobikoke. I did drive around a lot of the City, though, and what I remember really disliking were the two story, blank box commercial buildings that seemed to line the arterials for miles. At least the parking was in the rear, which supports pedestrian life, but the architecture was completely blank-no ornamentation at all-even though the buildings looked like they dated from the 1930s.

For a hilarious battle-of-the-two-Canadian-cities (Montreal vs. Toronto) check out urbanphoto.net's discussion board.
 

donk

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jordanb said:
Is that supposed to be an example of good architecture? B-)
It is not necessarily good, but it is interesting and responded to a design and neighbourhood situation ina unique manner.

It is featured in this month's OPPI Journal

From May/june 2004, Volume 19, No. 3, page 4.

OCAD Changes Toronto's View of What's Possible
By: Glenn Miller

Will Alsop doesn't spend a lot of time hob-nobbing with the elite. The British architect responsible for changing Toronto's skyline forever is happier talking to the people likely to occupy his buildings or who live nearby his projects. His genuine delight is listening to what matters to local residents. It turns out that this is the source of inspiration for the Ontario College of Art and Design's stunning expansion—nine storeys in the air on stilts!

"I went and had a glass of wine with the people across the street," he told me at the unofficial preview of his radical new building in March. "They said that access to the Grange Park was their biggest wish." That Alsop was able to grant that wish with such élan is a credit not only to his imagination but the attitude of his client, which wanted to create common spaces large enough for its elite students to work together and display their designs. (OCAD is a university, don't be fooled by the name.) He also got support from Paul Bedford's planning department where it counted. Chances are he had a glass of wine with the planners too, a convivial fellow to be sure.

The building is already on the circuit for structural engineers who come to learn about the unique solutions required to hang two full floors more than 30 meters in the air. Heritage planners are also intrigued with the emergence of very special cultural precinct (OCAD is a neighbour of the Frank Gehry expansion to the Art Gallery of Ontario) linking half a dozen heritage gems.

Looking out of one of the box windows at the city below, Allsop beams with pride. "People go on about the building being on stilts but what I really love is the park underneath. When it's finished it will be a spectacular space that will function both as a pathway from the neighbourhood to the Grange as well as a protected space where the college can hold events. Come back when the landscaping is in," he suggests. "We'll have a glass of wine." "

Hope this is OK, for the copyright rules, as the article is in a members only folder on the OPPI website.
 

Tranplanner

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jordanb said:
Is that supposed to be an example of good architecture? B-)
No, it was more of a cheeky response to BKM's all Toronto is is boxes and slabs statement.

I actually like this building. Dan's reaction upon turning the corner and coming face-to-face with it was priceless. I can't help laughing whenever I pass by. I wouldn't want to live in a whole city full of buildings like this - but as Donk pointed out it is an innovative and unique response and it actually fits very well on this street.
 

JNA

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What is wrong with having some novelity to break up the monotony?
Glad all those involved were willing to to take the risk.
 

el Guapo

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The tower has a Blade Runner / neoJapanese City look that makes me think everyone within a block should be text messaging someone else from their Hello Kitty watches. The building evokes flashbacks of that grame where you remove sticks from a plastic cylinder and hope no marbles fall. If I wanted to work in a game, I'd hope it was something more dignified like Tetris. Or, in other words, they both suck and were a waste of human capitol.
 

Suburb Repairman

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SGB said:
I question the message the media tower is currently sending: have some beers and go for a drive in your SUV. B-)
addition to SGB's comment:

...while talking on your LG cell phone...

drunk driver + rugged SUV + talking on cell phone = :-c !
 

boilerplater

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That Labatt's can dances like a white Canadian dude at a wedding reception.

Is that what passes for dancing up there?

The structure looks like it was designed by a civil engineer with no sculptural sense.
 
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Although I've never been to Toronto, I've always thought of it to be a faceless/bland city that can be made to look like just about any other city in the U.S. Blame it on the movies that are filmed there but are supposed to take place elsewhere.

I don't think there's anything too wrong with that building. Yeah, it's butt-ugly, but every once in a while, you need something interesting to look at, discuss or debate over.
 
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There is nothing at all ugly about this portion of Yonge Street.

It has a theme (as sick as the theme is - CONSUME -), and the media tower fits it especially when one studies what the surrounding area is to become in the very near future. Dundas Square will be enclosed on all sides with neon signs and large videoscreens. It's a place of mass media. Too often we start judging what is "ugly" in our eyes but we forget, the damned thing works! It gets busy there at all times of day and when the AMC movie theatre is complete there will be even more activity.

To me, this is successful Urban Planning, creating a space that attracts people to be entertained, not just to live or work. Not some picturesque bland shopping district that becomes a deadzone after 9:00 pm.
 
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